On the eve of the upcoming election, many voters across Australia have found themselves in need of a concise resource that can help keep them informed. With an ever more important reliance on upholding the standards within ourselves and the country we call home, this is your way to stay informed and make sure your voices are heard. The following is a brief, overview breakdown of the current state of Australia’s political juggernauts, helping you find the party that’s right for your vote.
The Labor Party are a left-leaning organisation that pride themselves on being in touch with young, middle-class and blue-collar people across Australia. Lead by Bill Shorten, the party supports policies that stretch from strengthening Medicare and the bulk-billing system to maintaining funding for TAFE and higher education. They also champion reducing the cuts on penalty rates for low-wage workers, reducing the Tampon Tax on women’s sanitary products, and supporting Australia becoming a republic.
The Labor Party support for the same-sex marriage bill was instrumental to its success, helping pass the bill within parliament on a momentous occasion. The Labor Party have historically focused on trying to better the lives of Australians within the social system, championing a ‘fair go’ for all citizens. The party have still found themselves unable to take a true stance on free trade (besides Labour’s Leader of Opposition in the Senate, Penny Wong) and environmental, and energy issues plaguing the country. Labor have a tendency to focus on the monetary issues that come attached to such decisions and the cost it could take on the taxpayers.
The Liberals are a centre-right party, known for their support of free enterprise and conservative social views. The Liberal Party supports initiatives that include a hard line ‘Stop the Boats’ approach to asylum seekers, upping the funding of the national defence force, opposing same-sex marriage within Australia on the grounds of religious freedom, and a conservative approach to climate change and energy targets.
The Liberal party has retained a conservative approach to their core values. Their repeated attempts to hold onto their power within Parliament has led to backing many opposing sides including Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, of which they backed last year during the Western Australia election, in order to receive support in contesting lower house seats. This most recent federal term for the Liberals, however, has been defined by chronic inner-party turmoil and a lack of unified structure. This instability has resulted in three leadership spills for the party, two of which were successful and saw Prime Ministership change hands three times in three years. Such rapid successive change in party leadership has been widely criticised as no different to the Labour party spills which plagued their federal term between 2010 and 2013, with many concluding that these big party antics are a symptom of Australian politics desperate need for new direction.
The Greens believe in maintaining a sustainable energy platform within Australia that would benefit in the future. The party is dedicated to the finding new ways in order to manage energy and renewable resources within Australia, often allowing them to find common ground with the Labor Party and their policies. Leader Richard Di Natale and The Greens have recently been active in highlighting their focus on helping to maintain a respectable budget for state schools, while also attempting to cover the costs of Ambulance cover.
Remaining a centrepiece of The Greens campaign is the right to fair, unbiased political ambition manifesting in their campaign for political donation reforms for each party. Through the creation of ‘Democracy For Sale‘, the party intends to help highlight the businesses and individuals donating to each party and how these donations can sway political tides. This campaign allows journalists, as well as the general public, greater insight into the potentially corrupting influence of money on politics, allowing for a safer, more informed voter.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation stands as a monument to maintain biased and uncharacteristic approaches to Australian politics. The party, of which was founded in 1997 after Hanson’s ousting as a federal candidate for the Liberal Party, has changed momentously over the years. Today, through its Trump-ian policies, One Nation has found a niche in supporting an anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim agenda, which can be summarised nicely in Pauline Hanson widely criticised senate burqa stunt which aimed to bring attention to her bill opposing any sort of full face covering in public.
Like the Liberals, One Nation has supported the ‘Stop the Boats’ policy regarding asylum seekers and endorsed restricting immigration policies through a proposed Travel Ban within Australia. They have also aligned with the Liberal party in their opposition of the same sex marriage bill under their desire to protect the parental right and religious freedom. Despite these similarities between the two parties, however, the liberal party and former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has attempted to discourage the connection between the two, stating during last year’s Queensland election that ‘Voting for One Nation in the Queensland election has only assisted the Labor Party, let’s be very clear about that.’
Taking a glance over to some of the other parties within the Australian political system, there remains a large array of topics and issues supported within the context of these smaller organisations. Formed in 2009, the Animal Justice Party entered the scene in order to campaign against unlawful treatment of animals and wildlife and the adoption of animal-friendly policies. The party’s intent to is to advocate and highlight the rights of animals and their treatment across Australia.
Sustainable Australia is a party formed in order to attain an economically and environmentally sustainable Australia. The organisation is dedicated to acquiring affordable housing by lowering immigration to a sustainable number, increasing public housing programs and encouraging better bank lending. On an environmental view, Sustainable Australia is dedicated to reducing fracking, highlighting biodiversity programs, ending old-growth forest logging, and reducing waste production.
The Mental Health Party of Australia is a new organisation which formed with the intent to shine a light on mental health and the ways in which we can gain a better understanding and easier access to mental health services across Australia. The Mental Health Party’s policies support the rise of a Newstart allowance for youth, a reasonable taxation system for business and individuals, a higher focus on mental health programs within schools, and an increase in appointments with healthcare professionals through the Medicare rebate.
It’s now time for every individual in Australia to rise up and get informed to vote for what you believe in. Whether you’re leaning towards Labor, Liberal or even Sustainable Australia, we’re in a momentous time within Australian politics, one in which you can’t leave your voice unheard.
For more information and a list of the current political parties in Australia, visit here.
If you’d like a more comprehensive list of who is voting for you on current bills and issues within Parliament, visit here.